Half Moon's pepperpot
Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer
Road pan cuisine has made its way on to the terraces of the exclusive Half Moon, a RockResort. This latest culinary delight is called 'Pepperpot', by name and nature.
The island's hot scotch bonnet is king at this eatery, which serves up a fare purely Jamaican.
Located at the Oleander Terrace, situated next to a spectacular pool, with a white sandy beach as an option, Pepperpot opens daily between the hours of 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., serving a late continental breakfast and lunch.
Under the stewardship of sous chef Omar Sybblis, the culinary master who has spent the last 13 years in the food industry, Jamaicans and visitors to Half Moon will experience Boston jerk, served with roasted sweet potatoes, fried breadfruit in season, paired with jerked butter sauce.
"There is no contemporary flair to the food - that is for our Sugar Mill Restaurant," Sybblis tells Food, during the sampling of a deliciously prepared spread at the Montego Bay resort Tuesday afternoon.
Sybblis quickly erased any idea that this restaurant only cateres to registered guests of the resort.
"We have introduced this restaurant specifically to satisfy the needs of those hungry for authentic Jamaican cuisine that is unpretentious and all are welcome, including walk-in guests."
He, however, asks tourists for their credentials first before allowing their palates to experience the pepper-hot scotch bonnet that differentiates Jamaica from its competitors, hot scotch bonnet. "We ask them for their credentials, meaning how long have they been associated with Jamaica. If they have been associated for years, we know they are familiar with our pepper."
Opened at the start of the winter tourist season, Pepperpot joins existing restaurants at Half Moon: The Seagrape Terrace, Sugar Mill and IL Giardino.
Pepperpot has introduced a line from the Jamaican 'dutchie', which includes oxtail and beans, curried goat in a mini dutchie, brown-stewed chicken and curried conch.
"One of the most exciting dishes on the menu is the ripe papaya, with curried chicken and breadfruit salad," said the sous chef with hard-to-disguise pride. He added that the uniqueness of the papaya allows it to cut through the richness of the curried mayonnaise.
Out of season, he replaces fried breadfruit with jerked corn-on-the-cob sereved with jerked butter sauce, and boasts of the beef patties and coco bread, instead of baguette. "All our sandwiches are made with coco bread, which not many Jamaican restaurants do," he noted.
Local lettuce, with arugula and roasted root vegetables, that are tossed with plantains and green bananas and croutons, served with spicy rum dressing, blessed with Appleton Special, Myers and overproof white rum dressing are among the salads at Pepperpot.
"The complexity of the rum embodies the dressing," says Sybblis.
For dessert, he presents a decadent array of cakes and tarts to satiate the sweet tooth. Food sampled a delicious rum cake, served with grilled pineapple and tomato sauce.
A visit to Pepperpot is a must during the upcoming Jamaica Jazz and Blues festival.